Long, but the pages turn easily. Chernow builds a complete picture of a good man made a great man by circumstances more than ambition. Chernow invests careful and thorough research to conclude that Grant a) kept his latent alcoholism under control, b) placed excessive and naive trust in close friends and c) sincerely fought to give freed slaves a real chance at freedom and (near) equality. He adds context to historical events that modified my understanding of causation. The absolute dominance of the post-war Republican Party , the enormous growth of government spending and rapid economic growth spawned by peace enabled profiteers to run amok. Grant left office broke while all of his closest advisors wound up wealthy, disgraced, or both.
What a masterpiece of writing. I learned more about Grant from this book than in my military history classes at West Point.
Put simply, Chernow’s work on Grant brought me into daily involvement with Grant until I finished reading the book. I feel like I’ve lost a great acquaintance but proud that Grant was a fellow American!
Raymond N. Miller
Grant is a supremely well-written biography of perhaps the most under-rated of our presidents. Easily equal in quality to Hamilton as a biography.
The first ⅔ of this book is fascinating and a great read. But then it devolves into a boring history of legislative activity, more a history of governmental activities during Grant’s reign. It just goes on and on and boringly on with the minute details of individual legislative activities and how it was handled and managed during Grant’s presidency. BORING. It’s not a biography of Grant, it’s a little excellent history of Grant and an excessive amount of legislative detail during Grant’s presidency. What a disappointment.
Based on all the five star reviews I gave this a go. It is 500 pages too long in my opinion. Do we really need to know every time Grant picked up a glass to drink, or speculate how Lincoln may have stood with his hands behind his back fuming in his office? Not sure how much of this is real and how much is fluff. Grant is made to look like a hero of some sort, yet history says otherwise. Sorry, but despite all the hype this was a long slog with littel payoff. There has been better written on the subject.
This book provides great insight into Grant, the person. While I always knew he was a great general, I had very little understanding of Grant as a person outside the Civil War.
The book also opened up my eyes to the political situation that Blacks and Grant had to contend with during Reconstruction. It was a tragedy the way Blacks were treated post Civil War through the Civil Rights movement after WWII. I used to think if only Lincoln had lived, but now I am not so sure if Lincoln could have done much better than Grant. Southern society was simply not willing to accept Blacks on any terms other than as inferior to whites.